Don't Let Toxic Diet Culture Make You Feel Bad About Enjoying Your Holidays

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Originally Published: 
Mother and two kids sitting at the dining table, the kids are in Christmas clothes while the mother ...
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Oh, the holidays. We’ve enjoyed a month filled with carols and cookies and eggnog and special time spent with family and friends. We threw on our favorite Santa socks and watched Hallmark movies by the fire. We’ve been living our best, coziest lives, yet just as we are beginning to relax and feel free, diet culture starts to sneak in.

Have you noticed that the huns and boss babes come out in droves this time of year? It seems like right around November 1, they are all in to make us start feeling badly about ourselves. They aggressively start to peddle their products. You know, the shakes, the pills, the wraps, and any other “miracle in a bottle” that will transform you. As he holiday season begins to rev up, the DMs start asking us about our New Year’s resolutions. But why? Why do we have to change just because it’s the New Year?

I don’t know about you, but if the product that you are dying to share with me is something that will make me feel badly about myself, I am not interested. So many miracles in a bottle are unhealthy, yet we are inundated with messages that make us think that we need all of these things to be the best version of ourselves.

It isn’t just the MLM folks; diet culture is all around us this time of year. Everywhere you turn, there are ads telling you that you need to make a change. How many times have we heard, “New year, new you!” What is wrong with the old you? Absolutely nothing. Yet thanks to this diet culture here we are, picking ourselves apart to find ways that we are deficient.

Turn on your TV at any point during the holidays and tune in for the commercial breaks. I guarantee you that you will see at least one ad asking you to try something to make you look better. That could be a diet, a shake, even a tummy-slimming tank, there is undoubtedly something being marketed to you that is intended to induce a feeling of being unworthy. These companies want you to change. How do you fight that?

Is it even possible to be body positive when everything around you seems to point out the negative? It is really tough. We feel pressured to make New Year’s resolutions. It’s almost like a gloomy cloud following us around. We want to enjoy the beautiful weather, but we know that the storm is coming. For years, I have felt like the month of December is the final few weeks before I become someone new on January first. More than once I have joined a gym or signed up for a weight-loss program in preparation for the New Year.

It is as if we are not allowed to love ourselves the way that we are. They want us to believe that it is not acceptable to have a few extra pounds or a curvy figure. We are made to feel badly if we celebrate a bigger body and spend the holidays enjoying ourselves. We are not what is wrong with our society. Diet culture and the desire to make everyone fit into a teeny tiny mold is the real enemy.

We are all made differently. There is abounding beauty in diversity. That does not just mean skin color; it is body type too. You do not have to be a size six to have self-confidence. You should feel entitled and empowered to celebrate your body at any size! No one should make you feel like you are unworthy of being loved or having a great life because your body isn’t what is deemed perfect.

Remember, friends, perfect doesn’t exist.

At this time of year, the weight-loss industry can — and will — challenge you. They will do their best to suck you in and convince you that you need to make a change. Am I saying that there isn’t room for improvement? No. If there are reasons to make a change to better your health and wellness and you are under the advice of a medical professional, then should heed the advice. Pressure to take a pill because a hun is making you feel fat, hell no!

Don’t feel bad about enjoying all the wonderful things the holiday season has to offer. Wear your favorite festive sweater and leggings. Show off those curves! Indulge in a cookie or five. Remember that you are worthy and December doesn’t have to be a countdown until you reinvent yourself.

If you want to make a few changes, you do you. But don’t feel pressured to be someone or something that you aren’t, to fit into a mold you don’t fit, just to line the pockets of some weight-loss industry maven or influencer.

Remember, you will be just as amazing and beautiful as you are now when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Day!

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